A press report of the situation at Waterford appeared in many Irish news sources this week, here is how RTE reported it.
The Facebook group “Save 24hr Search & Rescue Helicopter Cover in South-East” describes itself thus:-
SIGN THE PETITION NOW!
On 15th March 2010, the Irish Government put a price on peoples heads…. â‚¬1m euros.
They decided it was better to have lives lost at sea and save â‚¬1m euro, than to have one of the most vital Rescue services in the country operating 24hrs a day…
– Two days later they spent the equivalent money travelling around the world in the Government Jet for St.Patricks day and filling their stomachs…
WHAT A SICK AND TWISTED WORLD WE LIVE IN!
They are planning to downgrade the Coast Guard search and rescue helicopter service in the southeast of Ireland – a service which has saved the lives of countless people over the years. Tragedies such as the Maggie B, Pere Charles and the Honeydew II, all happened off the south Wexford Coast.
Search and rescue helicopter bases in Dublin, Shannon and Sligo are to remain with 24-hour cover, but the Waterford service operated from Waterford regional airport is to be reduced to a 12-hour, daylight only service. This would save the estimated â‚¬1m per year – regardless of the fact that Rosslare Port is classed as the “Gateway to Europe” and is on the busiest shipping channel in the country.
The Waterford base has been STATISTICALLY PROVEN to have had MORE callouts than the Dublin helicopter in the last 12 months – but HEY!, we can’t take the Dublin chopper off 24hr call – what if Mary Harney wants a Pizza after hours? Or the Government jet breaks down? (Which costs â‚¬7,100 per hour to run, and â‚¬2.8m per year).
Fishermen’s organisations, RNLI members, Politicians and the whole southeast have expressed outrage and absolute DISGUST at the downgrading of the service – which is another NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF THIS GOVERNMENT! – Roll on the next elections!
As the RAF helicopter base in Chivnor (Wales) is also being reduced to 12hrs, the nearest cover is Dublin or Shannon – so basically, if your on a night Ferry from Rosslare to France and something goes wrong , you may as well be on the ‘Titanic’.
The Dublin (or Shannon) helicopter will take 20mins to get airborne – another 1 hour to get to Waterford where it wiill have to refuel first (another 20mins) before it LEAVES for the scence, (which could be another 1.5 hours out) – leaving you in the cold night-time water for 3hrs+.
Survival time at 4.4 deg is 90mins.
Survival time at 10 deg is 3hrs MAX.
SO BASICALLY YOUR DEAD.
(Thanks very much, Minister Dempsey)
Maybe the French might come to your aid a bi
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